Great Pack Debate: Pros & Cons of ULA Circuit Vs Osprey Viva
Apparently, I wasn’t quite done with the Great Pack Debate. In my last post, I talked about how reducing my base weight was the answer to my pack dilemma. However, packs just kept coming back to haunt me. People kept posting comments about Osprey packs, and the comment by guy #4 at the outdoor gear store, about going for the heavier pack to be comfortable over being super light weight, kept resurfacing in my mind.
Everyone loves a Pro/Con list
This has become an impossible decision, so I’ve decided to write out the pros and cons of each pack:
- Ultra light weight
- Hand straps and water bottle bungees on shoulder straps
- Big side pockets that easily fit my 2L HydraPaks
- Big mesh pocket on the back with a bungee to hang stuff from
- Fits my Bear Vault (BV500)
- I already own it
- My total weight is likely to be over the suggested 30lbs rating
- The hip belt doesn’t fit right and needs to be replaced
- Only one way into the pack
- No quick access pockets on the pack for stuff like headlamp, maps, and gloves
- The padding is not super comfortable
- The sternum strap irritates my chest when I get hot
- Only a few extra attachment points on the outside
- Can handle loads up to 50lbs
- Floating top pocket for quick access stuff
- Lots of attachment points on the outside, including on the shoulder straps where I could attach hand straps
- Big stretch mesh pocket on the back
- Separate zippered compartment for sleeping bag with detachable divider
- Fits my Bear Vault
- Will be able to hold all my gear
- Hip belt can be adjusted on the fly
- Padding is super comfortable
- The sternum strap doesn’t touch my chest
- 1.3 lbs heavier than the Circuit
- It’s an extra cost to buy
- I could potentially load it with 50lbs
- I’m not sure if my 2L HydraPaks will fit in the side pockets
- No water bottle bungees on the shoulder straps
Definitely do a Pro/Con list!
This was an extremely helpful exercise, as it forced me to look at the specific details of what each pack did and didn’t have to offer. If you’re having trouble making a gear decision, I highly recommend writing out a list like this to help you see each piece of gear more clearly, and what it is about the gear that you like/dislike, want/don’t want, and need/don’t need.
So, will it be the ULA Circuit or the Osprey Viva 65?
I already have the Osprey pack on hold at the gear store until Friday, but I think I will get it, try it, and then decide which it will be. I’m pretty sure, however, I’m going to go with the Osprey. I think…
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